Lithua­nia’s Cen­tral Bank to as­sess in­for­ma­tion about VIA SMS Group

Baltic News Network - - News -

Lithua­nia’s Cen­tral Bank has promised to as­sess in­for­ma­tion re­gard­ing Lat­vian VIA SMS Group work­ing in the coun­try. This de­ci­sion is a re­ac­tion to the state­ment made by Seimas Na­tional Se­cu­rity and De­fence Com­mit­tee mem­ber Arvy­das Anušauskas that peo­ple as­so­ci­ated with for­mer Parex Banka own­ers work in that com­pany.

«Be­fore is­su­ing the afore­men­tioned as­so­ci­a­tion a li­cense for elec­tronic mon­e­tary func­tions, the bank’s su­per­vi­sory coun­cil has per­formed all the nec­es­sary pro­ce­dures and has stud­ied the in­for­ma­tion once sub­mit­ted by the com­pany. At the same time, the coun­cil has also turned to other re­spon­si­ble in­sti­tu­tions for as­sis­tance,» said the Cen­tral Bank, promis­ing to eval­u­ate ad­di­tional in­for­ma­tion.

Last Oc­to­ber, Lithua­nia’s Cen­tral Bank is­sued a li­cense to VIA SMS Group’s Via Pay­ments, which plans to start pro­vid­ing in­ter­net bank­ing ser­vices to pri­vate per­sons and com­pa­nies this au­tumn. Op­po­si­tion party Home­land Union – Lithua­nian Chris­tian Democrats mem­ber Anušauskas turned to Lithua­nia’s Fi­nance Min­is­ter and Cen­tral Bank on Tues­day, 14 Au­gust, ask­ing them to ex­plain if VIA SMS Group’s ac­tiv­i­ties have been as­sessed from a na­tional se­cu­rity stand­point.

It re­cently be­came known that VIA SMS Group’s spe­cial­ized bank FinnQ will soon en­ter Lithua­nia’s mar­ket. An­other one of this group’s fi­nan­cial ser­vices com­pany – Vialet – will en­ter the coun­try’s mar­ket in au­tumn.

An­other one of VIA SMS Group com­pa­nies worked in Lithua­nia in the past – VIA SMS LT. Last July, how­ever, it was liq­ui­dated. Ac­cord­ing to Anušauskas, FinnQ man­ager and board mem­ber Deniss Šer­stjukovs was a mem­ber of Parex Banka coun­cil and a busi­ness part­ner to Parex Banka co-owner to the son of Va­ler­ijs Kar­gin. In ad­di­tion, VIA SMS Group coun­cil also in­cluded Parex Banka co-owner Vik­tors Kraso­vic­skis’ son Ge­orgijs Kraso­vic­skis. He worked in Parex Banka as the head of de­vel­op­ment of leas­ing and fac­tor­ing ser­vices CIS coun­tries.

«Šer­stjukovs also has ties to Nils Ušakovs’ Concord party, which had an of­fi­cial co­op­er­a­tion agree­ment with Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin’s United Rus­sia party. Parex Banka was also in­volved with Rus­sian Tam­bov mafia group in the con­text of dif­fer­ent con­text. The Panama doc­u­ment scan­dal also re­vealed Parex Banka’s is­sued USD 100 mil­lion loan to Rus­sian Verneft man­ager Zhan Hu­daina­tov. It is be­lieved this loan only sped up the col­lapse of Parex Banka in the end,» said Anušauskas.

He adds that the com­pany owned by Zhan Hu­daina­tov’s brother Ed­uards Hu­daina­tov Nex­av­isi­maya Neftega­zo­vaya Kom­paniya was ap­plied with sanc­tions by USA for co­op­er­at­ing with North Korea’s regime.

Šer­stjukovs had pre­vi­ously told BNS that the bank would pro­vide sale of re­tail bank­ing prod­ucts and ser­vices. He also men­tioned that it is planned to com­mence op­er­a­tion next year.

Last year, 50% of VIA SMS Group was owned by Lat­vian com­pany Fi­nan­cial In­vest­ment, 31% were owned by Šer­stjukovs and 19% by Ge­orgijs Kraso­vickis.

Lita Krone/LETA

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